I am presently leaving a marriage of 17 years. We have three kids ages 13, 17, and 18. My wife and I are complete opposites, and we have known we shouldn’t be partners for many years, but like so many others, we stayed together “for the kids.”
I have a tremendous need for an intimate partner, a “soul mate.” My wife has no interest in intimacy, “soul searching,” marriage therapy, or counseling. Yet she loves the security and prestige of a “long marriage.” She told me to “get a girlfriend.” I cannot carry on a truly intimate relationship while being married! I have no trouble socializing, and even mildly dating, but nothing more than this until we are physically and legally separated.
Regardless, I am leaving her, and had stated this months ago, (after years of asking to work on trying to improve the companionship area). Since then I have met a wonderful 21 year old single mother (I am 40) with a three year old daughter, we seem to be enjoying each others company (we’ve not formally dated, though we’ve admitted “attraction” and have had long talks and snuck out for a beer, nothing more). I have considered a 1,000 reasons it would never work, yet I can list a 1,000 reasons it could and 10,000 reasons I want it to. What do you think? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Mike is Out the Door
Dear Mike Out the Door:
First of all Mike, when you leave a long relationship a healing period is required. All you would be doing is rebounding from one woman to another – one that is only a few years older than your oldest child! How do you think that would make your children feel? In a situation such as this, you must remember that though you have needs, you are also those children’s father and must treat them with thoughtfulness and the courtesy that they deserve. Dealing with the divorce of their parents will be traumatic enough on them; don’t make it worst.
Don’t allow your strong desire for sexual intimacy to get you into a situation that makes little sense IF you are looking for a long-term relationship. Twenty-one year old women are not known for their stability and maturity in long-term relationships! Most would look at you as someone to provide the financial security and material things that she is not in a position to provide for herself and her daughter… a wallet.
Not only that, is it really fair to her, if she should be looking for a husband, to be put in the position of “dating” a married man that is on the rebound – involving a preschool child who may attach easily and her young emotions in a potentially negative situation?
Sometimes our goals conflict and require us to sit down and so some serious soul searching to figure out which is the most important and which dream we should pursue, and which we should let go. This may mean that what you think you WANT isn’t what you should have. You are in a rather high and needy emotional state right now and focused on what you have not been getting over the years. Perhaps your analysis of what is in front of you is a bit off?
You and I are in agreement about one thing – casually dating women is fine while in a period of separation. It gives you the opportunity to sort out your feelings, talk, meet many women and spend a little entertaining time with them, and make some solid choices about the kind of woman you do or don’t want in your life while you spend time working on yourself. After a marriage ends, men and women both need to take some time out and spend energy on recreating themselves and not rush into anything with anyone.
I think if more people would just accept the pain and disappointment of divorce and DEAL WITH IT, not run from it into the arms of another man or woman, they would be able to pack away their baggage once and for all, and arrive at a healthier emotional state much more quickly. They would also be READY to receive (spiritually and psychologically) a new love that is all they dream of and more.